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Beagles are an active breed, and they require a high amount of calories. However, beagles are prone to obesity, making it necessary to keep them on a well-balanced diet. Your beagle’s diet can have a massive effect on his present as well as future health. ‘What do you feed,’ ‘how much do you feed,’ ‘how often do you feed’ everything matters. In this article, I have covered everything that you need to know about feeding your beagle.
What Do You Want in Your Beagle’s Food
Beagles are known to be an energetic breed, which makes it necessary to provide them a well-balanced and nutritional diet. To live a long and healthy life, a beagle requires a wide range of nutrients like protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Whether you feed your beagle manufactured food or home-cooked food, you need to make sure that your pooch is getting all the essential nutrients in a balanced amount. Generally, a beagle’s diet should maintain the following ratio of nutrients:
|Protein||30% to 40%|
|Healthy Fats||15% to 20%|
|Carbs||30% to 50%|
Note: It is highly recommended to consult your vet and ask him about the requirement of nutrients for your beagle.
Choosing the right food for your beagle
There are various aspects you need to consider before selecting your beagle’s food. The first thing you need to do is decide whether you will be feeding manufactured food or home-cooked food to your beagle.
Home Cooked food
If you have some extra time, then home cooking is an excellent option for your beagle. Cooking your beagle’s meal at home is quite easy as most of the essential nutrients might already be in your kitchen. However, there are some specific vitamins and minerals which a dog requires daily. So it is recommended to feed manufactured food at least once a day.
A healthy and well-balanced meal of your beagle should look like this:
|Food||Portion per meal||Source|
|Meat/fish||40%||White Chicken Meat, liver, mackerel, tuna, kidney beans, etc.|
|Vegetables||25%||Baby carrots, beets, spinach, sweet peas, spinach, green beans, etc.|
|Carbs||25%||Oatmeal, plain rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, plain pasta, etc.|
|Fruits||10%||Raspberries, strawberries, banana, mango, pear, etc.|
|Extras||Cottage cheese, plain yogurt, eggs.|
You can simply mix all the ingredients and serve. If your beagle shows any sign of allergy, then just stop everything and take him to the vet immediately. Many food items that may seem safe for human consumption can be toxic. So be extra careful before selecting the food items.
If you are vegetarian and planning to keep your beagle on a vegetarian diet then refer Can a beagle be vegetarian.
There are quite a few brands that provide a fantastic quality of dog food, whereas there are few that are just the worst. This makes it essential to do thorough research before selecting a commercial food for your beagle.
A ‘Premium Quality’ label on a package does not make it premium. There are quite a few reputed dog food brands that put fillers to increase their profit margins. Fillers have zero nutritional value, and they just fill up your beagle’s stomach. Foods with fillers fail to provide a complete healthy meal to your beagle, and this makes them crave for more food. If your beagle is eating grass or his own feces, then it might be because you are unknowingly feeding him food with fillers.
Here are a few things to look for while selecting a Manufactured dog food:
Real Meat: Meat provides protein, which is essential for the healthy growth of a beagle. Make sure it has meat listed as one of its key ingredients. On the package, it can be listed as ‘meat’ or ‘meal’ with its type (like ‘Chicken Meal,’ ‘beef meat,’ etc.).
No Fillers: Quite a few popular dog brands use fillers to maximize their profits. Look for a label of ‘No added Fillers’ to ensure that your pooch is not consuming any additives that can affect health.
Balanced Nutrition: There should be a proper balance between all the nutrition.
Healthy Fats: Dogs require a proper amount of healthy fats in their diet. It is a significant source of energy. Healthy fats are also responsible for the adequate development of a beagle’s cells, nerves, muscles, and body tissues.
Types of Manufactured Food
Now that you know what to look for in dog food let’s discuss what kind of dog food you should choose. Yes, there are types.
Wet Food: A considerable portion of wet food contains water, making it an excellent choice for beagles who refuse to drink water. Wet food is gravy and has a bit more flavor than dry food, a good option for puppies. Here is a list of best wet dog food for beagles.
Dry Food: This is the most popular and economical option for dog food. Dry food is easy to store and feed. It also helps maintain your beagle’s dental health. They have no water portion in it, and good quality dry food is densely concentrated with nutrients making it an ideal choice for an active breed like a beagle.
Opinion: Beagles loves to eat, and usually, they don’t have any such preference regarding their food. So the better option would be to feed dry food. Good quality dry food will provide all the necessary nutrients that a beagle needs.
Best Food Brand Recommendation for a Beagle:
Note: Being a parent of two beagles, I had spent a lot of time researching to find the best dog foods. None of the below brands have paid me, and these are my recommendations.
Dog Food Advisor has reviewed various kinds of brands and their food and rated them between 1 to 5 stars (5 Stars being the best). They have made it simple for every dog parent to find out the best dog food. Always prefer food with a rating for at least 4 stars.
- Orijen: All our dog food comes from this brand. They use nutrient-rich ingredients and don’t add any kind of fillers. Orijin has food for puppies, adults, and senior dogs. You can read our orijen for beagle review. They have been rated 5 stars. Usually, local pet stores don’t keep this brand’s line of product, but you can easily find it on Amazon or from their official website.
- Merrick: Another brand I would suggest. They have exciting and nutritional-rich recipes.
- Whole Earth Farm: One more good brand with a 4-star rating.
How to Feed your Beagle?
There are two ways to feed a dog, Free feeding and Scheduled feeding.
Free Feeding your Beagle
In free feeding, you keep a bowl filled with dog food all the time. In this method, your beagle has access to food throughout the day, and he is free to eat anytime he wants. It is recommended to free feed a beagle who is less than two months old.
But free-feeding a beagle more than two months old is a bad idea. Beagles are prone to obesity, and free feeding will be an open invitation to it.
Scheduled feeding is feeding your beagle proper meals at specific times or specific intervals in a day. You will need to select a time for all the meals throughout the day and then stick to it daily. Scheduled feeding has lots of benefits. It will help you with your beagle’s potty training, hierarchy training, teaching discipline, and also allow you to regulate his food intake.
How much to feed your beagle
How much to feed your beagle depends on quite a few factors like your beagle’s age, his activity level, his metabolism. Every beagle has different requirements.
If you choose to feed manufactured food, the packages have their feeding guidelines printed on the back. However, they are just general guidelines. So if you notice that your pooch is losing weight, then increase the quantity.
If you are home feeding your pooch, then you will have to do trial and errors with the quantity. If your pooch starts gaining weight, then lower the amount and if he starts losing it, then increase the amount or add more nutrient-rich food to his diet.
Calorie Requirements of Beagles
An adult beagle needs calories to maintain his weight, whereas a puppy beagle needs calories to fuel his growth. Puppies need more calories per weight than adult beagles. However, you should not be concern about counting calories of your beagle unless and until your pooch is overweight or underweight. All you need to do is maintain a diet with high-quality food.
Generally, a growing beagle puppy needs around 55 calories per pound (of his body weight). Adult beagles need approximately 45 calories per pound. Metabolism lowers down as the pooch ages, so a senior beagle requires around 42 calories per pound. However, these are just general numbers, talk to your vet for more specific info.
How often to feed your beagle in a day?
Below 2 Months old Beagle puppy should be free-fed. He should have access to food throughout the day.
2 months to 5-month-old beagle puppies should be fed four times a day plus snacks for the training. If you have an active puppy, then prefer giving him five small meals at regular intervals.
5 months to 1-year-old beagle puppies should be fed three times a day, plus snacks used while training.
After 1 year, you can feed two meals a day plus snacks and treats for training.
Beagle feeding chart
Here is a feeding chart for a beagle provided by Orijen. If you decide to feed Orijen, then its best to refer to this chart. Every brand has its general feeding guidelines; you can find it on the food package itself.
Feeding chart for Beagle puppies:
Feeding chart for adult beagles:
Switching the Food
A sudden change to a different food brand or even homemade food can cause an upset stomach to your beagle. Initially, mix a small amount of the new food with the old food. Slowly and gradually increase the amount of new food on the old food. The transition from old food to the new food should be done gradually over 2 to 3 weeks.
Until the beagle is 2 months old, you should stick to the same food that his breeder use to feed him. And after 2 months, switch the food to a more healthy and high-quality food. At this age, the transition should be done over 4 to 5 weeks.
Beagle puppies become adults at the age of 1 year. If you are feeding manufactured food to your beagle than you can switch from puppy food to adult food gradually when he is 11 months old.
After your beagle is 7 years old, you should switch to senior dog food.
During pregnancy, you will have to switch to more energy-dense food.
It is recommended to consult your vet first before introducing new food in your beagle’s diet.
Feeding Beagle Puppies
Weaning is a process of transitioning a puppy from his mother’s milk to solid food. Usually, 4th week is the right time to introduce solid food to a beagle puppy. Again the switch should not be sudden. The transition should be done for over ten days.
Quite a few manufacturers offer a variety of exceptional weaning food. However, even regular puppy food is okay. But the dry food is too hard for a puppy to chew, mash the food, and mix it with some warm water.
Weaning to 8 Weeks old
During this period, it is recommended to feed him the same food mixed with water.
8 Weeks to 6-month-old
By week 8, a beagle becomes physically and psychologically healthy enough to move to a new house. It is highly recommended not to bring a puppy home until he is eight weeks old.
Once the puppy gets comfortable with his new surroundings, you can change the food if you want. However, make sure the transition should be done gradually over 3-4 weeks.
It is recommended to add a small amount of water in his meal to soften the dry food until he is six months old.
6 to 12 month old
When your pooch is six months old, you can stop adding water to his dry food. Also, this is the correct age to introduce some healthy home food in his diet.
Feeding Adult Beagles (1 to 7 year old)
Once the beagle matures and finishes growing, he needs fewer calories per pound (of his body weight). In adult dog food, there are fewer calories then puppy food. When your beagle is one year old, its time to switch to adult dog food. You can start the transition when he is 11 months old.
However, every dog has its growth rate, but generally, by the age of 1 year, puppies’ growth rate reduces, and at around 18 months, a beagle completes his growth process.
Feeding Senior Beagles (7+ years)
As beagles mature, their metabolism slows down. They start becoming less and less active and hence require fewer calories. Many dog food manufacturers provide food with fewer calories, particularly for senior dogs.
At this age, some beagles might show signs of some common health problems. Consult your vet regarding the required supplements that need to be added to his diet.
Feeding Picky Beagles
Usually, beagles love to eat. They are not at all picky when it comes to food. They will eat almost everything you offer them. However, there are very few unique but equally adorable beagles who become very picky and refuses to eat dog food.
NOTE: If you notice that suddenly your beagle has started refusing his food, then this can be an early sign of a health problem. Have him checked by a vet as soon as possible.
If your beagle regularly refuses his food, but when you add some tasty flavors, then he eats it like a monster, then my friend, your beagle is fussy. Naturally, beagles are not picky. It’s you who have spoiled him. Let me explain:
Let’s say, one fine day, your beagle is not hungry or just a little under the weather, and he refuses to eat his food. You being a responsible parent, add some flavor or make something he likes to encourage him to eat. Your beagle, being an intellectual being, learns that when he refuses his food, he gets something better.
Remember when you taught your beagle the ‘sit’ command? You gave him treats every time he sat. He learned that every time he sits, he gets a treat. Similarly, unknowing, you taught your beagle to refuse his food to get something better.
To deal with this, you will need to remove your beagle’s positive association with refusing his food. You can do that by being a little more strict with his feeding schedule. Try increasing the intervals between his meals to build up his appetite. Keep the food in his bowl for 20 minutes and take away anything not eaten.
If he has skipped his entire meal, let him be hungry. It may sound cruel, but beagles can stay without food for two days without any adverse effects on their health. So be a little strict. I am sure your beagle won’t be able to refuse more than two meals. And slowly and gradually, your beagle will start enjoying his food.
Feeding Guide for Overweight Beagles
Beagles are prone to obesity, and that’s why it is necessary to take extra care of what and how much you feed your pooch. Obesity or overweight can lead to many health problems in beagles like high blood pressure, heart problem, lethargy, diabetes, etc. Always maintain a healthy weight of your beagle.
One way to find out if your beagle is overweight is by their ribs. If a beagle’s ribs are visible, then he is underweight. If a beagle’s ribs are not visible, but when you touch his chest, you can feel them, then its okay to say that he has a healthy weight. But if you cannot feel ribs because of the fats, then your beagle is overweight. It is just a general way, and it is recommended that you consult your vet for a more accurate understanding.
Step 1 to deal with obesity is to cut down his calorie intake by 10%. You can either do that or switch to a low-calorie Dog food.
Consider adding vegetables and fruits to his meals. This will lower down the calorie intake.
Step 2 is exercising. Regular exercise has numerous benefits for a beagle. One of them is, it helps burn calories. Beagles need at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise daily. Here is a list of 12 fun exercises for your beagle.
Feeding an excited eater
If your beagle is like mine, who gets over-excited as soon as he sees his food, then you should teach him some discipline. Beagles who are excited eaters will jump, bark, even bite the person serving his food. Your beagle’s excitement can be dangerous for you as well as your pooch. This is something that needs to stop.
- Your beagle knows when is the time for his meal. He will start barking or jumping as soon as you pick up his bowl or go near the food area.
- When he starts doing any kind of misbehavior, stop immediately, put the bowl back at its place, and go back to what you were doing before.
- Wait until he calms down.
- After a few minutes, try to feed him again.
- If he barks again, then wait for a few more minutes until he calms down.
- If your command game is strong, then you can tell your beagle to ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ while you get his food.
- Repeat this every time you feed him.
It will take some time. But I am sure, within a week, you will start noticing changes in his behavior when you feed him. For better results, make sure all your family members follow this process.
One other thing excited eaters do is, eat their meal so fast that they end up choking on it. If that’s the case with your beagle, then I would recommend feeding him on a slow feed bowl. You can also use kong balls to make him struggle and eat slow.
Foods To Avoid For Beagle
Few foods that may seem okay to you can cause some severe health complications to your beagle. So it is essential to keep your beagle’s food intake in check all the time. Here are a few foods that you should altogether avoid feeding your beagle:
- Cat food
- Chewing Gums
- Peach Pits
- Potato and Tomato Leaves and Stems
- Yeast Dough
What is okay to feed a beagle
Your beagle will love you more if you occasionally surprise him with a special meal. Here is a list of a few things okay to feed your beagle:
- Brown Bred
- Cottage Cheese
- Peanut Butter (without xylitol or any other sweetener)
- Popcorn (without salt)
- Wheat and Grains
For more you can refer to this list of all the vegetables your beagle can eat.
Treats and Snacks
You can give snacks to your beagle in between meals and treats while training him.
Few healthy foods you can use as Treats and snacks
Beagles love meat chunks, and they are healthy too. You can cut a small piece of a steak or a fish that you cooked for your dinner and use them for training your four-legged pal. Just make sure that the meat chunks are small in size and cook.
Bananas are great for your beagle’s digestion. However, they are low in nutrition and contain natural sugar. But using a banana as a treat occasionally will surely cheer up your pooch.
Guess what I use to teach my beagle to ‘catch’ things, yes Popcorns. You can practice this too on the next movie night. However, make sure popcorns don’t have salt in it. And don’t overfeed popcorn.
What Nutella is for humans, peanut butter is for beagles. It’s tasty as well as healthy for your little pooch. Just make sure you get peanut butter without xylitol or any other added sweeteners. Go through the ingredients listed on the bottle just to be sure. There are peanut-butters specially made for dogs too. You can put it in the kong or just give him a spoon-full to lick it off.
Few snacks and treats that are unhealthy for your beagle
Bones: You should never give your beagle real bones of chicken, turkey, or any other meat. While chewing, bones break, and their splinters can cause serious injuries, cuts, and other severe health issues. Marrow present in bones can cause diarrhea.
Colored Snack: Colored snacks contains food coloring and heavy dyes that can trigger an allergic reaction. It is advised to go for light-colored snacks.
Pig Ears: Those dry snacks can cause tooth breakage. If swallowed half-chewed, it can cause intestinal blockage.
Some common Beagle Feeding Problems
Where can I check dog food ratings?
The most trusted website to check dog food ratings is Dog Food Advisor. They have reviews and ratings for almost every dog-food brand’s every product, and they are impartiality with their ratings. Always go for food which has a 4 or 5-star rating.
My beagle only eats freezer dried food, should I be worried?
Well, your beagle is just a little picky with food. You don’t need to worry. It’s okay to feed freeze-dried food until it has a 4 to 5 star rating.
My beagle eats only when I hand feed him.
Hand feeds your beagle twice, and he will get used to it. This is a habit you want to get rid of asap. You will have to be strict. First, Make a tasty meal that he cannot resist. Keep it where you usually feed him and make sure he notices it. Keep the food in the bowl for the entire day. At some point, he will be hungry and start eating.
I have tried my best to give you complete information about feeding a beagle. If you still have any doubt feel free to contact me, and I will be happy to help.